News bytes

– A fascinating collection of photos from the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979.

– “In 2001, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) warned that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S. But the Bush administration cut New Orleans flood control funding by 44 percent to pay for the Iraq war.” Sidney Blumenthal explains to Der Spiegel that state and federal governments were warned for years about the possibility of a devastating natural disaster but fighting an illegal war somewhere else seemed so much more important. If you want to donate to a relief fund, try the US Salvation Army.

– The Nation’s John Nichols, meanwhile, asks the energy corporations – who have made millions in the devastated region for years – to donate some of their obscene profits to the relief effort.

– In related news, National Guard troops from Louisiana and other Gulf states stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan will not be brought home early to help in the clean-up. The sad reality remains that America’s military is at breaking point and America suffers while Iraq burns.

– Robert Fisk catalogues the latest Iraqi horror of over 1000 dead Shia Muslims in a tragic stampede.

– Denmark grows a backbone and tells America it can no longer use its airspace to transport suspected terrorists around the world. Maybe John Howard’s Australia will offer our airspace to make up for the loss.

– In case you weren’t certain of Israel’s racially discriminatory policies, four Arab Israelis shot dead by a soldier against the Gaza “disengagement” are not victims of “terror” because their killer was Jewish, according to Israel’s defence ministry. Their families are therefore not entitled to compensation because the law currently only recognises terrorism if committed by “organisations hostile to Israel.”

– Anti-Semitism is widespread in Ukraine. Little reported was the influence of such forces in last year’s electoral win of Viktor Yushchenko. When I was in Ukraine for nearly three weeks in 2000, I noticed no signs of Jew-hatred, but then, I wasn’t publicly announcing my religion.

– “The United States is the largest supplier of weapons to developing nations, delivering more than $9.6 billion in arms to Near East and Asian countries last year.”

– “The [Australian] Government, not the people, is to blame for the woefully inadequate public discussion of terrorism in this country. The language of terror, the inflation of threat and the manipulation of news have been instrumental in furthering US and, by this Government’s logic, Australian strategic objectives” – Michael Connors teaches politics at La Trobe University.

– “Osama Bin Laden intended his assault on the twin towers to strike at the heart of materialism and cause consternation throughout the western world. What he could not have expected, however, was America’s failure to rebuild the towers without delay, a setback that has exposed the United States at its most politically inept, cripplingly litigious and corrupt” – Nicholas Wapshott, New Statesman

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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